State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Natural Disasters65

  • Shaking Out Some Money

    That rumbling you feel is not necessarily a passing subway. New York City and the surrounding region gets a surprising number of small earthquakes, and a 2008 study from the region’s network of seismographs, run by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, suggests that the risk of a damaging one is not negligible. This week, the federal government announced a major upgrade…

  • India: the Impact of the 2009 Monsoon Failure

    This article is the second in a series inspired by the recent Columbia Water Center trip to India During our recent CWC trip to India (during the first three weeks of August) one news story dominated all others: this year’s near total failure of the monsoon.  Many of us in the West don’t really understand what…

  • Mudslides: Forecasting Risk

    Landslides kill thousands of people each year but because they’re often triggered by earthquakes or heavy rains, the danger remains poorly understood. “In densely populated areas, landslides take no prisoners,” said Art Lerner-Lam, a scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  “They’ll wipe out an entire village at once. Even a small landslide can kill…

  • Suburban Seismology

    Three minor earthquakes struck North Jersey last month. Yes, Jersey. Turns out the state known for its turnpikes and shopping malls also has a major geological landmark: the Ramapo Fault, which crosses into New York and Pennsylvania. “Earthquakes are not unexpected here,” seismologist Won-Young Kim told The New York Times. “It’s just an indication that…

  • What Was That Big Bang?

    Iran seems to be moving toward an atomic bomb; North Korea reportedly could build a half dozen; and terrorist attacks have revived the specter of a faceoff between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India. Yet the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, forbidding  nuclear testing, has failed to win ratification from the U.S. Senate and lawmakers of some other nations. Opponents say scientists cannot reliably detect clandestine tests: Why should…

  • Shaking Out Some Money

    That rumbling you feel is not necessarily a passing subway. New York City and the surrounding region gets a surprising number of small earthquakes, and a 2008 study from the region’s network of seismographs, run by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, suggests that the risk of a damaging one is not negligible. This week, the federal government announced a major upgrade…

  • India: the Impact of the 2009 Monsoon Failure

    This article is the second in a series inspired by the recent Columbia Water Center trip to India During our recent CWC trip to India (during the first three weeks of August) one news story dominated all others: this year’s near total failure of the monsoon.  Many of us in the West don’t really understand what…

  • Mudslides: Forecasting Risk

    Landslides kill thousands of people each year but because they’re often triggered by earthquakes or heavy rains, the danger remains poorly understood. “In densely populated areas, landslides take no prisoners,” said Art Lerner-Lam, a scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  “They’ll wipe out an entire village at once. Even a small landslide can kill…

  • Suburban Seismology

    Three minor earthquakes struck North Jersey last month. Yes, Jersey. Turns out the state known for its turnpikes and shopping malls also has a major geological landmark: the Ramapo Fault, which crosses into New York and Pennsylvania. “Earthquakes are not unexpected here,” seismologist Won-Young Kim told The New York Times. “It’s just an indication that…

  • What Was That Big Bang?

    Iran seems to be moving toward an atomic bomb; North Korea reportedly could build a half dozen; and terrorist attacks have revived the specter of a faceoff between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India. Yet the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, forbidding  nuclear testing, has failed to win ratification from the U.S. Senate and lawmakers of some other nations. Opponents say scientists cannot reliably detect clandestine tests: Why should…